Mexico Life: New Arrivals Face a Dental Dilemma

Source: Q-Roo Paul

In a recent post, I wrote that we personally know more than two dozen people who chose to move to this part of Mexico as a direct result of reading our blog. Well, this post is about two of them, Jim and Angela.

Jim and Angela moved to Mexico from the United States about three weeks ago. Neither of them speak Spanish but that hasn’t hindered them at all in getting things done here in Mexico. In fact, they seem so comfortable in their new surroundings that a casual passerby would probably think that they’ve lived here for years.

The other day, Linda and I met them for dinner to see how things were going with their transition to life as expats in Mexico. They both related that things were going very well with the exception of a recent incident where Jim’s dentures broke while he was eating dinner. They then told us the story of how they got them fixed.

Two questions that many would-be expats ask us are: 1) Is it difficult to get by without knowing Spanish? And, 2) Is there access to quality, affordable health/dental care?

Jim and Angela’s experience helps to answer both of these questions. Fortunately for our readers, they gave us permission to share their story on the blog.

A Tale of Two New Expats

As I mentioned earlier in the post, Jim’s dentures broke while we he was eating dinner at home. The next day, Angela did a quick Internet search and located aĀ prosthodontist in Playa del Carmen, about 35 minutes away.

Angela called the office and the receptionist naturally answered in Spanish. When Angela asked if someone there spoke English, a dentist got on the phone and he spoke it fluently. He asked if Jim and Angela could be there in one hour and the two headed to his office.

When they arrived, they were impressed with both the facility and the staff. The dentist that they spoke to on the phone saw them right away and the dentures were repaired while they waited. It took about 20 minutes and cost $500 pesos, which is roughly $26 USD.

Jim said that the quality of the work was excellent and the total cost was less than his copay would have been if he’d had the dentures repaired in the U.S.

Let’s Wrap This

When my wife and I moved to Mexico in 2015, I had it in my head that the level of health/dental care wouldn’t be as good as it is in the United States. I think that as Americans, we’re conditioned to think this way. This is how we justify to ourselves that spending more money per capita on healthcare than any other country on the planet somehow makes sense.

When it comes to Mexico, I cannot say enough good things about the private healthcare system. We live in a country now where doctors (and dentists) will give you their personal cell phone number and tell you to contact them if you have any questions. They deliver outstanding care that retirees like us can actually afford.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About the Author

Q-Roo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget.

In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul’s articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

38 Comments on "Mexico Life: New Arrivals Face a Dental Dilemma"

  1. This has been our experience here in Mexico as well. Excellent health care for less money, and much faster response time. You get medical care when you need it, not when it is convenient for the system.

    • Q-Roo-Paul, I am somewhat confused about health care—-should i cancel out my medicaire in the States? (Parts A & B). I am a permanent resident now of Playa del Carment, with no intention of going back to Florida. Thought perhaps I might go back if my health really needed me, too, but then I started thinking, why would I, when health is so much better here. So perhaps, I have answered my own question!? Evelyn

  2. My husband has been to a dentist in Cancun. He is going to another one inJan.Best service and price.

  3. Laura Wiig Hoffman | November 15, 2017 at 11:33 am | Reply

    Love this! There is a horrible lack of affordable dental care in the US. Most adults now are unable to cover the costs. It has moved to a luxury item category. I plan on scheduling travel to Mexico partly for dental care that I need but in no way can afford here.

  4. Fantastic!

  5. Hello
    I had dental work in Puerto Vallarta at Just smiles .
    Dr. Guillin was excellent and the cost was about 5k USD . I had 3 implants and 2 root canals . I believe this would have been 15 to 20k in the US I am very happy with the results.

  6. My husband and I had dental work completed on our recent vacation to Playa. I will NEVER have work done in the US again. From the very beginning the service and quality were significantly better. Ultrasonic cleaning – no scraping and bleeding gums. High quality fillings and crowns at extremely fair prices. Virtually pain-free. Novocaine needle was almost microscopic.

  7. Great news. I agree health care here is great and I am a nurse from the US.

  8. Yes, I have found excellent care in all categories, and in Akumal, there is even a doctor and pharmacy that do house calls!!

  9. My concern is what if something goes wrong with a surgery etc in MX do you have recourse?

  10. How would you handle surgeries or a catastrophic injury? We all here stories about being held in the hospital until you pay them. Thanks!

  11. Also I understand that if you have something done on vacation and then come back to the states and need follow up or have issues …..many doctors here will not take you on as a patient because they did not handle the original issue

  12. Thank you all for sharing

  13. Hi Paul and thanks for your excellent blog. Did you by chance get the name of the dentist Jim and Angela used in PDC? The last one I used here inflicted a lot of unnecessary pain and charged US prices. Thanks much.

  14. We are not Jim & Angela, but Chip and I used Dr. Jorge Armenta Morales. Website is http://www.playadentist.com
    We will be making a trip back to see him in May. šŸ˜€

  15. My dad had dental work in Cancun and it cost way less than it would have in the USA. They even picked him up for the appointment and returned him to his condo when it was over. By the way, the dentist was trained at University of Michigan! I told him not to tell the dentist his grand-daughter was an Ohio State grad! lol

  16. Iā€™d be interested in knowing the name and phone number of that dentist too. Thanks

  17. We have traveled to Cancun several times for Dental work. My husband got a full restoration with an implant, 4 root canals and 28 zirconium crowns for about $12K. This much work would have cost $50K+ in the US. I’ve gotten 3 root canals, 2 extractions and 2 bridges at similar saving. And the work is far and beyond better than any work we’ve had done in the US. We actually were just down there and scheduled a check up and cleanings 2 weeks ago. I also visited a skin doctor in Playa last year, primarily because it’s a 6-8 month wait in the US to see someone. I was taken care of quickly and professionally. I’ve even had surgery in Mexico and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  18. So glad to hear about the experiences of others concerning dental care. The cost of health plans in the US is horrendous! No telling how long you might have to wait for an appointment, then you sit in the waiting room for a period of time past your appointment, then you are ushered into another room where you wait minutes more!
    Most of the time, your dr. lacks compassion.
    To top it off,after using your life’s savings, the dr.goes on vacation to a fancy resort in Bali!

    So wonderful having real people care for you here with real compassion!
    And most times with a hug! šŸ™‚

    Evelyn

  19. Courtney Currin | November 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Reply

    I am going to ask a very stupid question. Stupid because I have spent 44 years in HMO Kaiser Permanente, but as of January 1, I am switching to employer-supported Blue Cross/Blue Shield, due to criminal lack of care from Kaiser. This is awkward because of the current Trump vs Obamacare quagmire in the US; I will be eligible for Medicare in July 2019 (if it miraculously still exists at that time). I am 63.

    I have learned that I may be considered for an early retirement in First Quarter next year, which will include a 6-month severance pay package, rather than a swift kick in the butt with no carrot. It’s still not a given that they will offer it to me (no one is indispensable, but for some reason, they have a sadistic desire to make me suffer šŸ™‚

    I have several preexisting health conditions that could leave me as the poster child for the US health crisis. The idea of getting a personal health insurance plan, and perhaps a permanent resident health plan, in Mexico — with doctors who actually care and cheaper medications, is very appealing to me.

    My Q is: if I expat myself to Mexico, will I still be obligated to have US health care or face a penalty on my US taxes? It’s probably too early for anyone to know from experience, but does anyone have a crystal ball?

    Thank you so much for providing this blog, with such a wealth of information!

    Courtney

  20. Linda Zaworski | November 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    Shortly after we moved to Baja Sur, my upper denture broke. We had not yet established care with a dentist. The internet pointed me to a dental lab and we walked into the business, everyone was busy at their bench creating dentures, crowns and implants for the dentists who used them. My Spanish is pretty rough, but I asked if they could repair my denture. No problemo. It took about an hour, but the repair was perfect!! Cost us about 20.00 usd.

  21. Wow – great story. Lots of comments on the quality of the dental care, which is important. But I was pleasantly surprised about how the language barrier wasn’t an issue. That’s one of my bigger concern about moving to Mexico actually. My sense is that even if I start learning it here, I will never be at a functional level of Spanish to survive daily life down there. Glad to see this may not be as much of an issue as I thought!

  22. Last year I stepped over the boarder from San Diego and had 6 Amalgam fillings removed. Using the latest holistic techniques to safely remove the mercury along with high dose vitamin supplementation.The dentist then replaced all fillings with gemstone material and installed Crowns on a couple of them.The entire procedure cost a fraction of what it would have come to in the U.S. even with the use of my dental insurance.

  23. My wife and I have started a dental concierge service for those who want to come to Playa del Carmen for dental work. We make the arrangements, pick up our clients at the airport, and bring them to our dentist. There is no charge for our service as the client pays directly to the dentist; who accepts all major credit cards and offers a discount for cash. His modern office includes his own laboratory equipped with a CAD/CAM machine to create crowns and dentures for a perfect fit. Contact me at SMILE@rivierapearldentalservices.com.

  24. Richard Brenick | November 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Reply

    I live in Jacksonville Beach, FL and was told by at least four different dental clinics that what I required would cost between 50 and $55,000…. I traveled to Cancun and had everything done for $13,500 what a savings. Since then we have had friends do the same. lastly, over the last three years traveling to Cancun and visiting the clinic, I have been introduced to two of the former Presidents of the American Dental Associates.. I think that speaks highly of the professional attributes of the Cancun clinic.

  25. Sweet information. I could use some dental carve and this sounds so doable.

  26. I have lived in Akumal (between Playa del Carmen and Tulum) for almost 2 years, and I have enjoyed nothing but excellent experience with both medical (Hospiten) and dental Coral Dental) professionals in Playa del Carmen. Excellent facilities and equipment, English speaking staff and professionals; EVERY time my cost has been less than my copay back in the US.

  27. Gordon and Pam Huwa | November 16, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Reply

    We have been coming to Mexico for over 15 years and we have nothing but good things to say about it, including the Health Care. We live noth of Lazaro Cardenas about 1hour and go to Lazaro Cardenas for any health or dental issues, plus shopping etc. it is very affordable and good service. We go to a clinic called Fatima. If you are ever in the area and need healthcare they are excellent and have English doctors and translators to help. We only spend 5 months out of the year their and the rest in Oregon. Life and retirement is great. Have a wonderful day.

  28. Rocco and Carla | November 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Reply

    This is great! Any chance that you’ve heard of a holistic dentist in Q.R.? I’ve often wondered if there are any holistic and alternative practitioners there? Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Holistic Dentists, Chiropractors, any of the sort?
    Thanks again for all you do Paul (and Linda)!!

  29. Rick Plourde, please tell me who you saw in Tijuana. I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you Paul, what a helpful blog.

  30. I used to live in Mexico and thought Medical and Dental services were poor there as it isn’t a 1st world country. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. I recently moved to UK and learned what is a bad health & dental service. Long queues, bad service and extremely expensive treatments. Few places in the world have such good medical services at low affordable prices like Mexico. + you get Tequila too šŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply